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WIP: Strategies to Increase Value and Retention for Undergraduates in Engineering

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Student Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Student

Page Count

8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38096

Download Count

96

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Paper Authors

biography

Pearl Elizabeth Ortega-Darwin Texas A&M University

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Pearl Ortega-Darwin is a PhD student at Texas A&M University, College Station studying Interdisciplinary Engineering with a focus on Engineering Education. Mrs. Darwin received her undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX and a M. Eng. degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University with a research focus in remote healthcare. She is currently working with her adviser, Dr. Kristi Shryock, under the NSF RED Project focused on competency-based learning modules for sophomore aerospace engineers.

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biography

Kristi J. Shryock Texas A&M University

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Dr. Kristi J. Shryock is the Frank and Jean Raymond Foundation Inc. Endowed Instructional Associate Professor and Associate Department Head in the Department of Aerospace Engineering in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. She also serves as Director of the Craig and Galen Brown Engineering Honors Program. She received her BS, MS, and PhD from the College of Engineering at Texas A&M. Kristi works to improve the undergraduate engineering experience through evaluating preparation in areas, such as mathematics and physics, evaluating engineering identity and its impact on retention, incorporating non-traditional teaching methods into the classroom, and engaging her students with interactive methods.

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Abstract

As the need for diversity in engineering increases, research shows that incorporating a sense of belonging, positive psychology, and mentorship into STEM programs has the power to increase retention and value for undergraduate students. Studies would further suggest that while recruitment efforts are being made geared towards undergraduate students, more practices of retention need to be implemented to ensure students have the environments they need to continue pursuing their STEM degrees. Students who are calculus ready when entering college have been shown to be more likely to remain and graduate from with their engineering degree than those who do not [1]. Many students have math deficiencies even prior to entering their sophomore engineering courses, which negatively impact student retention [2]. One way an engineering program at a southwestern university is working to better prepare their students in their classes is by implementing a competency-based math assessment in one of their critical sophomore engineering courses. The exam was created through Pearson’s MyMathTest which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to adapt a study plan based on the student’s correct and incorrect answers. The administrators customized the exam to test students on math topics that were considered important in order to successfully pass the engineering course. The assessment was given to students on their first week of school and was available for 4 weeks in order to give students adequate time to take the exam, review their material, and remediate any math knowledge that the students would need to know for the course. Competency-based assessments give students equal opportunities to be successful in their classes as many students have different backgrounds of learning. Flagging “at-risk” students and giving them the tools they need to learn the course prerequisite material can help build their sense of belonging and positive attitude in the classroom. Similar competency and remedial assessments from other departments and universities have proved to be helpful to their students by lowering the D/F/Q rates, creating shifts in letter grades, and increasing the rate of students passing courses when compared to the years where AI assessments were not used. As this is an ongoing project, results for how the assessment has affected the students is still pending. One way an engineering program at a southwestern university is working to better prepare their students in their classes is by implementing a competency-based math assessment in one of their critical sophomore engineering course. The exam was created through Pearson’s MyMathTest which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to adapt a study plan based on their correct and incorrect answers. The administrators customized the exam to test students on math topics that were considered important in order to successfully pass the engineering course. The assessment was given to students on their first week of school and was available for 3 weeks to give students adequate time to take the exam, review their material, and remediate any math knowledge that the students would need to know for the course. Competency-based assessments gives students equal opportunities to be successful in their classes as many students have different backgrounds of learning. Flagging “at-risk” students and giving them the tools they need to learn the course pre-requisite material can help build their sense of belonging and positive attitude in the classroom. Similar competency and remedial assessments from other departments and universities have proved helpful to their students by lowering the D/F/Q rates, shifts in letter grades, and an increase of students passing courses compared to the years where AI assessments were not used. As this is an ongoing project, results for how the assessment has affected the students is still pending.

Ortega-Darwin, P. E., & Shryock, K. J. (2021, July), WIP: Strategies to Increase Value and Retention for Undergraduates in Engineering Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38096

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